Smartphones to get secure fingerprint technology


Android phones with near field communication (NFC) technology could soon have an extra layer of security in the form of fingerprint-enabled authentication. AuthenTec, a leading provider of security and identity management solutions, has launched a new software development kit that will enable developers to create fingerprint sensor applications for Android mobile phones.

Experts say the move could help to allay security fears surrounding mobile payments and accelerate consumers' acceptance of the technology.


'Tremendous opportunity' for developers
Art Stewart, vice-president of smart sensor solutions at AuthenTec, believes there could soon be a "growing base" of fingerprint-enabled Android smartphones, which would improve the security of mobile payments and enhance other features, such as games and remote access.

"With the proliferation of Android smartphones, we see a tremendous opportunity for developers to apply their creativity to applications that leverage the convenience and security of AuthenTec fingerprint sensors," said Stewart in a statement. "Developers now have a platform to create truly unique apps for the newest input device for smartphones, fingerprint sensors, and open a new world of features."

First fingerprint-enabled transaction completed in US
The announcement came on the heels of confirmation of the first ever fingerprint-enabled NFC transaction, which was completed via a Motorola Android phone using technology from AuthenTec, semiconductor company NXP and contactless innovation firm DeviceFidelity. A demonstrator made the highly secure payment by swiping his finger over the smartphone's fingerprint sensor, which confirmed he was the account holder and launched a credit card app. The user then tapped the smartphone against a payment terminal to complete the test payment.

Henri Ardevol, vice-president and general manager of secure transactions at NXP, said the advance could lead to "broad adoption of mobile wallets."

"The fingerprint transaction shows how future mobile transactions may become increasingly convenient through the use of NFC and biometrics," observed Ardevol in a statement. "In the meantime, however, we continue to focus on bringing easy-to-integrate yet highly secure solutions to mobile phone OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and carriers eager to offer secure mobile wallet designs."

See related: Study: Quarter of Brits make mobile credit card payments; Survey: Brits reluctant to adopt contactless credit cards

Published: 8 August 2011